Prasoon Joshi at IFFI: Art can be interpreted differently, but the intent of the creator is very important

During a discussion at the 51st International Film Festival of India (IFFI), writer and lyricist Prasoon Joshi spoke about how he dealt with controversies and controversial films in the last three years during his tenure as the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chairman.

‘Saccha kalakar kabhi kisi ko nuksan pahunchane ke liye film nahi banata’

During the last three years, Prasoon has seen many objections and protests against films, which were based on historic and political figures. Talking about how he dealt with such controversies, he said, ” Ek saccha kalakar kabhi kisi ko nuksan pahunchane ke liye film nahi banata. Before coming to the CBFC, I probably never thought about how people see art. But one thing I have always understood is that a river has a different meaning for the one who is fighting its waves and for the one who is standing at the shore. It is the same river, but its interpretation is different for both of them – for one person, the river is aggressive and for the other, it is calm. Hence it is possible that the intent behind making a piece of art was different, but it is interpreted in a different manner. Lagaatar uss par baat-cheet karte rehna aavashyak hai. When I accepted the position of the CBFC chairman, I felt the need to keep this discussion open, and I was able to resolve many such issues.”

‘I advise creators to discuss their subject with experts if they don’t understand the field’

Prasoon said that whether its mythological, historical or political subject, filmmakers must do their research and discuss the subject with experts of that particular field. Also, intent is key, ” Jab koi iss tarah ke vishay par film banata hai, ya natak banata hai, jo logon ki bhawnaon se jude hue hain, then the foremost thing is that your intent should be to do justice to the subject/character. Apke camera angle se apka intent pata chal jata hai. Next question is, whether you have researched the subject enough or not? Did you discuss it with the experts of that field? Unless you discuss it with the experts, you have no right to comment on it. I always advise that if you don’t understand the subject, then you should definitely collaborate with subject experts to understand the topic,” he said. He added, “There has to be a sense of trust between the creator and the receiver. Jiske liye aap kala bana rahe hain agar uska apke prati vishwas nahi raha toh nuksan hoga kala ka. Kyunki kalakaar aur sunne wale (audience) ke beech vishwas ka setu hamesha jeevit rehna chahiye, baaki regulatory bodies toh aati jati rahegi. Uss vishwas ko jeetna padta hai, us vishwas ko kamana padta hai.”